Many times in my life, I feel as though I’ve been on the edge of something great but have never quite been able to grasp it. But I’m a weird combination of someone who is a planner, but who is also easily paralyzed by fear. Whether it’s fear of failure, the unknown – it doesn’t matter, it all results in the same inability to create action.
2014 was different, though. I walked into 2014 having completed these worksheets called Powersheets. That year, I was full of hope and I was certain things would be different. Looking back at my goals for that year, I didn’t even accomplish half but what I did accomplish was some major internal work that I still benefit from today.
I returned to the Powersheets in 2015. What I could not have foreseen that year was a complicated pregnancy followed by the birth of our second child who had some initial struggles. My goals that year seemed insignificant compared to our daughter’s health, and I let them languish. That brings us to 2016, and this year I am again doing the Powersheets.
Every year, Lara Casey (the creator of Powersheets) suggests you choose a word of focus. This word guides your goals, and your actions in completing those goals. In 2014, my word was “commit.” I wanted to re-commit to my life, and I can say that that year I really did accomplish that internally even though many of my goals went uncompleted. I can’t remember what my word for 2015 was, which tells you how crazy things were, but if I had to pick a word now looking back, I would say that was the year of stretching. Stretching as in I had never felt stretched so thin, yet I also was stretched in positive ways (hello mom of two!).
For 2016, my word is “brave.” This year is about overcoming fear, and getting out of my own way. Something about 2015 locked me in a box of anxiety. I noticed that after the birth of my daughter I felt a high level of anxiety throughout most of the day around my abilities as a mom, a wife, and a writer. I think we all have a voice in our head that speaks negativity from time to time, but I feel as though that voice got louder that year. The result was a lot of self-sabotage professionally, as I dug in trying to focus on my children and my marriage. I lacked balanced.
That anxiety has let up over time mostly because we’ve moved out of the tough, sleep-deprived newborn phase, but it also helped to review 2015 and cut myself some slack. I’ve thought long and hard how I want 2016 to pan out. I have very specific goals this year, unlike in the past where my goals were set up more like categories (I want to be more spiritual, I want to be more financially responsible, I want to be healthier, etc.).
Normally, I dream big – and every goal setting book I’ve ever read tells you to do this (shoot for the moon, and even if you miss you’ll at least land among the stars) – but this year, I’m keeping it small. This is the year of baby steps.
Take back control of my day
Now that Penny is coming up on a year in a couple months, I feel as though our lives have stabilized somewhat to allow me to reclaim some hours in my day. This goal amounts to setting up routines for myself, specifically a morning and evening routine.
I’m a morning person trapped in the body of a night owl. I really would love to naturally be a morning person, but I’m just not. However, I know that if I could grab an hour or two to myself before the kids are up for the day, I would feel so much more accomplished by bed time. I fully expect this to be a challenge, because not only do I stay up way too late, but I love to sleep.
Get back into the meal planning habit, cook more healthy meals at home, and transition to a better spending system
Our two biggest areas of spending are groceries, and eating out. I feel like this is true for most people. These are the areas I’m focusing on this year to take back control. I eventually want to use cash for these areas, to help us stick to a specific amount of spending each month. This will be a challenge, because I am not very good at drawing hard and fast lines for myself. I think it will be positive, though. Most months, when I add up everything, I always think to myself “why do you spend so much money on food??!!” so I’m looking forward to exclaiming that about some other category for a change (like coffee, maybe? Haha!)
On the meal planning front, we became accustomed to eating out so frequently because – truth time – it’s exhausting having a newborn/infant and a toddler at home all day. There were many, many nights I did not feel like cooking dinner. Or maybe I felt like it, but I really didn’t want to have to deal with clean up. Needless to say, Panera has been our best friend. I don’t really want to break up with Panera, but I do have a specific goal of five out of seven nights a week eating dinner at home.
I’m also lumping our pets into this goal. Our Pomeranian, Aslan, has some dietary concerns and I want to get him on a better diet so I will exploring pet nutrition this year, too.
Write, write, and write some more.
This is my last main goal for the year, and it really plays into my goal of taking back control of my day. Mom guilt is real – so many times I set aside my desires for the house, chores, even my children. Of course I love making sure my children are taking care of, that they live in a clean home, have clothes to wear, food to eat, and so on, but I need to carve out time for myself. I need to recharge, and even more than that I need to feel productive.
A large part of me feeling productive is contributing to our family income. I have not done this in any real or consistent way for nearly four years. I feel lucky that we are able to be so flexible on this, but as we have added a second child to the mix, I’ve watched our financial cushion become a little less cushier. I have a specific amount of money I want to earn each month, and I can’t earn that by doing laundry and wiping down our countertops (though I really wish I could!). I can do it by writing, which is something I’m good at. This blog plays into that, but ultimately my goal this year is a book contract.
And there it is! My 2016 goals. I want to end this year with a solid morning and evening routine in place, eating mostly at home for our meals (especially dinner), paying cash for most of our expenses except the fixed household ones, have my pets on a good diet, and have a blog that people enjoy reading and feel a part of as well as have a book contract in hand. I will be tracking my progress on all of these things right here on The Put Together Home. Wish me luck, and thanks for reading! 🙂